Billionaires Get OK to Set Up Shop on the Moonâ€¦ with Robots
Billionaires Naveen Jain, Bob Richards and Barney Pell received an ok from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to send an unmanned lander to the Moon.
Moon Express will be “the first company ever in history… to leave Earth’s orbit and land on a celestial body” in order to harvest the moon’s resources, including minerals such as titanium and platinum.
Thanks to a decision by the White House, the Department of State and the FAA, Moon Express has been tasked with a commercial space mission while lawmakers work on “a permanent solution”.
President Obama signed the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act establishing standards for commercial spacecraft for the next 7 years.
The plan is to spend no more than $5 million to send a small lander to the moon by 2017. If the trip is a success, Moon Express will begin their initial exploration mission “to not only bring back the resources from the moon for the benefit of humanity on Earth, but also as a destination we could colonize, which becomes a stepping stone for us to colonize Mars.”
To help in the colonization of the Moon, the University of Florida (UF) began working with NASA in 2014 to create vehicles powered by fecal matter from humans.
The standard currently is to save up the feces in large tanks from the International Space Station (ISS) and expel it into the earth’s atmosphere to be burned up.
In 2006, NASA began there endeavor to create a Moon-base to be inhabited by humans somewhere between 2019 and 2024 and possibly powered by human waste in order to facilitate, cooking food, washing clothes, and any other task necessitating power.
Last year Johann-Dietrich Wörner, head of the European Space Agency (ESA), spoke at the 2015UK Space Conference, about how nice it would be to “see a village on the moon – a manned base that is both an international research station and a platform from which to explore space.”
Wörner hopes to see “different states, individuals or private companies … establish an infrastructure on the Moon that has the ability to do first-class fundamental research.”
The UK is working with Russia and China because his government “should use space and science to cooperate with any of the space-interested or space-faring nations around the globe.”
The plan is simple. Return to the moon with robots in 2 years, and have them build a permanent base by 2021; and end with a crew sent to the moon the following year.
First off, NASA would like to resume their manned missions to the moon project that, for all intents and purposes, ended with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
The study authors stated that NASA should adopt the same method that it is using for re-supplying the International Space Station – a public-private partnership with companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK or the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to get their moon colonization schemes underway.
For $10 billion NASA could entice private corporations to provide crews for projects and commercial cargo contracts for lunar lander concepts and necessary upgrades to existing spaceships.
Space Launch System (SLS) is a next generation rocket that NASA plans to send to the moon, but is not clear on where it would land.
However, using private corporations could reduce prototype launches of SLS, reducing the cost of the program and technology necessary to support it.
Three years from now NASA envisions a robotic mission to the moon with rovers combing the lunar poles for hydrogen. For strictly mining purposes, prospecting could begin by 2019.
This would employ the Evolvable Lunar Architecture (ELA) plan so that the hydrogen mined on the moon so that it could be processed into a propellant and used for crafts orbiting the moon.
Another possibility is the use of human feces to power machines, dwellings and even vehicles on the moon.